Italy has the highest catches of all countries fishing in the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the availability of fisheries statistics at the national level, reported catch amounts account only for a portion of total fisheries removals. This study aims to provide an estimate of 1) catches for all marine fishing sectors; 2) fishing effort in the major Italian fishing fleets; and 3) catch per unit of effort from 1950 to 2010. Catches were estimated using a catch-reconstruction approach that looked at all types of fisheries removals: from reported and unreported landings (from both industrial and artisanal fisheries) to recreational landings and discards. The reconstructed total catch for the 1950-2010 time period was 2.6 times the amount reported by the FAO on behalf of Italy. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) landings constituted 53.9% of the reconstructed total catch, followed by reported catches (38.8%) and unreported discards (7.3%). Industrial fisheries were dominant, with 79.1% of the reconstructed total removals, followed by the artisanal catch (16.8%), with recreational (3.2%) and subsistence (0.9%) fisheries making very small contributions. Catch per unit of effort declined since the early 1950s. Our study is the first that estimated total Italian fisheries removals and fishing capacity using a holistic approach; such approach is particularly important in areas like the Mediterranean Sea, where the multi-species and multi-gear nature of fisheries make the assessment of single-species fisheries resources and their management difficult.